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FBI Charges 14 In Casino Kiosk Scam

/ Source: TechNewsDaily

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has charged 14 individuals in a scam that netted more than $1 million from Citibank cash machines in casinos.

Ara Keshishyan, 29, of Fillmore, Calif., recruited members into his scheme to take advantage of a loophole in Citibank's security protocol, the FBI said in a statement.

Keshishyan had them open up multiple Citibank checking accounts with "seed money" and then travel to multiple casinos in Las Vegas and California.

There the criminals made multiple withdrawals from the casino cash kiosks within seconds, allowing them to take out several times the original account balance, the FBI said.

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The ring members limited their deposits and withdrawals to under $10,000, the level at which transaction reporting requirements kick in.

"While advancements in technology have created a world of accessibility to users and a convenience for consumers, they have also left room for criminals to exploit even the smallest of loopholes," FBI special agent in charge Daphne Hearn said, pointing out the delicate balance between providing convenience and providing security.

Keshishyan was charged with 14 counts of bank fraud, each carrying a 30-year maximum sentence and $100,000 fine.

The other defendants face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to illegally structure financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements.